Our to-do list as moms at Christmas time can feel a mile long. So much to do and so little time. We’ve been talking a lot about holiday expectations as a blog team (here and here) and how we can stay centered on what really matters during a season that can take “busy” to a whole new level. It’s not easy, but it’s amazing how much freer we are feeling as we tweak our holiday to-do list.
In honor of this, our wonderful graphic artist on our team, Lisa, designed a free graphic for you to download to help keep this perspective at the forefront of your mind. All you have to do is subscribe to our blog and you will automatically receive the beautiful print in your inbox!
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To close the blog team wanted to share our thoughts about how we are trying to stay focused on the most important things on our to-do lists this holiday season.
Buy presents → Be present
I’ll be honest here: being 100% present with my girls has been a lot harder in real life as a mom than the idealistic views I had of motherhood. Recently I have been praying about how to be more present with my girls and one thing I have tried when I have work to do is saying to my four-year-old, “I have to finish this email (or laundry or whatever) for ten minutes and then when I am finished, let’s do __.” It has been good for us and has helped me be able to finish my task but then put my phone down and focus on her and her sister (some days better than others). I can tell when I even spend ten undivided minutes sitting on the floor doing a puzzle or coloring with her, she feels more filled up. This is challenging for me to do when my list feels never-ending, especially during the crunch time before Christmas Day, but I am asking God to help me focus on what’s most important.
Wrap gifts → Wrap someone in a hug
Jesus’s birth was the ultimate outpouring of love and hope into a World that was otherwise without any. As I think about the LOVE that Jesus modeled to those around him, I can’t help but want to more fully love those around me this season in the most simple of ways: a hug. It may come in the form of hugging my kids longer after bedtime stories, or by making it my priority to hug my husband right when he walks through the door, or perhaps by taking time to talk and hug a friend who is having a rough week. Regardless, my goal this Christmas is to stop racing around and start paying attention to the people around me, the people who may need a little extra embrace. Come on, don’t be shy…..who needs a hug? ??
Send gifts → Send peace
The news from around the world is ugly! It’s clear that peace is not humanity’s default mode. I’ve learned this year that it takes effort to create peace, and it takes effort to protect peace. And though it can be so hard to know how to help those far away from us, we can create and protect peace right around us. Since peace is close to the heart of Jesus, we try especially hard during Christmastime to create peace in our neighborhood. We knock on doors, deliver cookies, leave cards, and have as much conversation as our neighbors are willing to offer. We feel more known and connected, and more secure; we so hope the neighbors feel the same. Sending peace into the world can be as easy as getting to know and respect the people around you!
Make food → Donate food
Instead of stressing over planning the perfect meal or worrying about whether the ham is perfectly cooked, we try to turn our focus on how we can help feed into others, literally. We plan to go through our pantry and gather up canned food that can be donated. We use some of our Christmas money each year to buy granola bars to keep stashed in our cars to pass out to people in need that we come across. My mom keeps fast food gift cards in her car for the same purpose. There are so many ways to feed others and share the love of Christ through food.
Make cookies → Make love
One of my mentor moms once told me that during the busy Christmas season, we need to put our husband on top of our “To Do List.” Haha?? (She really did say that!) But let’s be real here — amidst our mile-long list of things we want to get done by Christmas Day, making love could fall way down on the list (or not make the list at all, because who has energy for that at the end of the day? Especially when you’ve got 80 more gifts to wrap!). But think about it — when you are stressed, your husband is stressed, and no one is having fun. You may have to endure tense family situations, long trips, whiny kids… Why not make time and energy for the number one relationship in your life? “Escape” from it all for a little bit? It’s a great way to relieve that stress and help the two of you feel connected again. Then you’re able to enjoy the holidays as a team.
See the lights → Be the light
I actually really love to look at all the beautiful Christmas lights! (I remember writing about that!) Can we SEE the lights AND BE the light? But, seriously, I’m so inspired by you guys… again! You have really summed up being the Light What better way to be shine God’s light than to be present with our kids, and snuggle, and give small gifts of thanks to those who serve us and our neighbors. To be ready to bless others with what we have been given in abundance. Loving others is the way to be the light! Last night I was coming home from basketball practice with Jesse in the car, just the two of us, which is rare. I asked him what he was most excited about for Christmas? He said, “Opening presents!… And getting to be with my family… And celebrating Jesus’ birthday.” I nearly cried. If nothing else this year, it seems he saw God’s light in my life. He must have seen that in our list of things to do, there was something deeper about this whole Christmas thing. At the end of the day, my little guy is just that- a real boy who wants some toys, but who loves his family and wants to celebrate the Light of the world.
Merry Christmas from the Texting the Truth team! We pray that the next few days are filled with peace, joy and light as your perspective shifts this holiday season. ❤️